Thursday, July 23, 2015

Comparing Chameleon for Digital Signage (C4DS) with Traditional Content Management System (CMS) Supported Digital Signage

Traditional CMS Solutions

Traditional CMS digital signage solutions can support a long list of features including screen zones, screen templates, live TV feeds, dynamic content including weather and sports scores,  elaborate content playback scheduling, screen health monitoring and proof-of-play reporting. For any signage network operator or end user that actually requires all of these features regardless of the higher cost, traditional options may be considered.
Traditional Signage with Zones or Panels
When deciding whether to utilize a traditional solution, consideration should be given to the amount of technical resources available to support the solution. To utilize the long list of features, technical expertise is required and extra time and money for this support must be allocated. Some traditional solution vendors do an admirable job of mitigating required resources by providing better user’s documentation and even training videos, but there is no way around the fact that laying out elaborate screens, specifying complex scheduling, selecting and configuring live tv and dynamic feeds requires considerable experience and time.

Today, the majority of full-featured traditional CMS-based solutions run on Windows player platforms that are supported by x86 hardware. Some are beginning to emerge on Arm-based Windows and Android platforms, but often the graphical performance requirements of these systems can limit solution functionality. Fully capable x86 hardware is seldom fanless and solid state which can lead to reliability concerns. x86 fanless and solid-state options are available, but at a premium cost.

The Chameleon Solution

While the Chameleon player and dashboard do not have some of the features of traditional CMS-based solutions, Chameleon is a great fit for operators requiring a simpler solution with a subset of core functions.

Simple Chameleon Sign Screen

Chameleon is not structured to support multiple zones within screens. It is design to show one image or video at a time with full screen display. Content creators may elect to show multiple zones within each graphic or video, but for simplicity of use, Chameleon can only display one graphic or video at a time. Moreover, live TV feeds are not supported by Chameleon. Again, this was design decision made to keep Chameleon simple.
Chameleon does support dynamic content in a different way than other solutions. For example, users don’t have to find or select a weather source, layout weather data, etc. Such complicated steps are common in traditional solutions. Deviceworx maintains web pages that users can capture within Chameleon. These web page addresses accept a location data such as a latitude and longitude and then they display local news or weather automatically for the location specified. Setup is as simple as typing in the web page address with a correct location within a Chameleon capture ad. This simple approach provides for a solution that is also extensible. For example, Deviceworx can create web pages for capture that describe any kind of dynamic information including proprietary information such as company schedules, etc. Or, end users can simply capture web pages that already exist (including their own) and display these pages on sign screens.

To ensure that content is fresh and engaging, proper content scheduling is a critical feature that should be supported by all signage solutions. Chameleon supports full content scheduling.

Device monitoring and proof-of-play reporting is critical for all distributed signage networks and is supported by Chameleon in a similar fashion to traditional systems. Deviceworx has, however, taken great care in simplifying the filtering of report data to facilitate report generation with a very short learning curve.

Chameleon has been developed with end user cost and reliability in mind. To support this, Chameleon runs on cost-effective, mass produced, solid-state Android platforms.

Traditional Signage Advantages

Feature-Rich Content Support
Features such as a zoned or paneled screen with dynamic data such as stock quotes within a ticker or other transitional element can be very important for some deployments. Sometimes, getting consumer mindshare by showing live TV is also beneficial.
Extensive Screen Health Monitoring

Expensive traditional solutions can include support for monitoring screen temperatures, run times and other metrics. Monitoring of some screen hardware (especially older screen hardware that runs at higher temperatures) can reduce screen down time.

Chameleon Advantages

Lower Capital Expense and Operating Costs
The low cost of mass-produced Chameleon Android players is difficult to beat, and because Chameleon has been developed with only a core set of digital signage functions, its license cost of $150* per year per screen supports a very low operating cost. This low operating cost is further supported by use of simpler content. Content graphical design and management is simpler when zones or panels are not used.
Player Reliability
All Chameleon players are solid-state and fanless, ensuring better reliability than players with spinning hard-drives or fans.
Anyone can begin using the Chameleon solution with less training time when compared to traditional solutions. This supports easier system management and reduced operational costs including content creation.
Web page screen captures of any type of information is supported for display of proprietary data, internal schedules, announcements, etc.

About Deviceworx Technologies Inc. (

Deviceworx Technologies Inc (DTI) develops proximity marketing and digital signage solutions for a variety of verticals. The recently released Chameleon for Digital Signage (C4DS) product provides small to large end users and network operators with a solution that is simple, economical and flexible. Click here for more info on C4DS or email DTI sales:

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Comparing Chameleon for Digital Signage (C4DS) with Simple USB Stick Signage

Today, retailers and service providers have very little time that can be allocated to setting up and maintaining digital signage screens. This reality, coupled with their constant need to reduce marketing and promotion costs, has driven them to pursue the simplest and cheapest solutions available. Perhaps the most popular type of digital signage solution that meets this criteria is simple playback of graphics and video that has been loaded onto a USB stick. Some digital screens are being sold with this type of digital signage support built-in and may also support loading content from other forms or portable storage media such as an SD card.

USB Stick Type Digital Sign
USB Stick Signage
USB Stick Signage
In very general terms, this style of signage includes screens with build in playback support where the content played back is loaded from the USB stick or other portable media. Depending on the platform, content is played from the USB stick while it is inserted or the content is automatically copied to internal storage within the screen (typically replacing old content). Content playback is simple and is typically just the alphabetical order of the content files that have been loaded onto the portable media. Commonly, many types of content are supported including graphic files and video. To update content, end users must physically interact with screens and replace the content on the USB stick. No remote content updates are possible.

Chameleon Remotely Managed Solution
The Chameleon Solution
For very minimal cost, the Chameleon solution addresses many of the shortcomings of USB stick signage. End users can take advantage of a number of features lacking in USB Stick offerings. This includes elaborate content playback scheduling, dynamic content including weather and sports scores, screen health monitoring and proof-of-play reporting. Because Chameleon has been designed with simplicity in mind, the end user can begin benefiting from these features after a few minutes when starting to use the system. Critically, all content management functions are done remotely. No physical interaction with screens is required.

Chameleon can be purchased pre-installed on screen devices supporting Android including tablets and full-sized screens. For simpler screens with no Android support, separate player hardware must be installed. While some effort is required for installation, it is typically minimal (think minutes not hours) as players typically require only a power connection, internet connection and graphic connection to the screen. Player hardware cost is one drawback compared to built-in solutions, but because Android player platforms are mass produced, this cost is very low when compared to the overall operating cost of a sign.

Once a Chameleon system is installed, users can manage content quite simply by logging into the Chameleon dashboard, uploading graphic and video files to the dashboard and then selecting their playback order within a campaign. As a final step, users can simply select a created campaign for their device and playback will start automatically.

There are no setup steps for end users to monitor devices or review playback stats. They simply view this data within the dashboard.

If scheduled playback of campaigns is required within devices, this optional step can be performed with minimal effort after a few minutes review of online how-to videos or the user’s guide.
Selection of dynamic content, including weather, is also very simple and can be learned in minutes using the how-to videos and user’s guide as a reference.

To supplement graphical content, Chameleon also supports internet audio streaming. Ambient music from over 20,000 shoutcast stations, or advertising content such as commercials, can enhance sign effectiveness within a store.

For a marginal  fee and a very small investment in time, end users with very little technical ability can setup signage solutions that are far more engaging, dynamic and manageable than would otherwise be supported by a USB stick type solution.

USB Stick Signage Advantages

Capital Expense
Commonly, this style of solution is free to the user. For some end users, you simply cannot beat free.
No Player Install
Because player capability is built into the screen itself, there is no player hardware for the end-user to install.
It really does not get any simpler than copying files to portable media and plugging that media into a screen. For this reason, less technical end users may consider this style solution to be less intimidating.

Chameleon Advantages

Lower Operating Costs
While not free, Chameleon license costs are very low at $150* per year per screen. For end users that must travel to a remote screen to update content on a regular basis, this can support an overall operating cost that is much lower than USB Stick Signage.
Healthy Network
Understanding if screens are healthy and showing content is critical. Chameleon’s remote management functions will show when screens are disabled. Often a call to a local resource to return screen power is all that is required to fix screen issues. Without immediate indication of a problem and remedy, screens may be offline for weeks or even months.
Fresh Content
Updating content on a regular basis is key to engaging customers. Regular content updates are incredibly challenging for end users that must physically visit screens. Ultimately, content will become stale and the effectiveness of the sign will drop dramatically.
Play Proof
When content is used for advertising or promotion and proof of content display is required for advertisers or promoters, proof-of-play reporting is critical.
Dynamic Content
To help engage users, display of timely and dynamic content such as sports scores, weather, stock values, flight departure data (as examples) is very beneficial. Chameleon makes this easy by supporting web page captures and by hosting web pages that end users can customize to display their local weather and news. In fact, Chameleon can even show proprietary data like meeting room schedules, online menus, etc.
Audio Streaming
Get consumer mindshare even when they are not looking at screens, by playing commercials. Or, improve the consumer experience and increase their shopping time by playing ambient music.
Being able to schedule which content plays and when is critical to ensure that content is as relevant and valuable as possible at any given time. Chameleon supports a variety of scheduling mechanisms that vary from simple to complex and powerful.
* Pricing in US dollars.

About Deviceworx Technologies Inc. (

Deviceworx Technologies Inc (DTI) develops proximity marketing and digital signage solutions for a variety of verticals. The recently released Chameleon for Digital Signage (C4DS) product provides small to large end users and network operators with a solution that is simple, economical and flexible. Click here for more info on C4DS or email DTI sales: